Cumberland Art Society History
In 1961, Reba Bacon, Associate Professor of Elementary
Education at Tennessee Technological University, called a
meeting at the Library Auditorium on the TTU campus. Bacon
said she wanted to “do something that I will be remembered
for.” Bacon, Ramola Drost and a few others began the art
society with Bacon as its founder. Approximately 100 people
from the area attended the next meeting of the Cumberland
Arts and Crafts Society. Within a few months, the membership
became official with 68 charter members.
The annual exhibits of members’ works were
held at the Tennessee Tech dance studio and the WHUB radio
station’s community room. Monthly workshops and classes were
held in various places in Cookeville and surrounding
communities, including the Backdoor Playhouse at Tennessee Tech University.
Finally, in 1964, the old City Hall on North Walnut Ave. became
vacant and was soon the home of the Cumberland Arts and
Crafts Society. At the grand opening Norman Warrell, the executive director
of the Tennessee Arts Commission of the Performing Arts
Division, praised Cookeville as one of the
four cities in Tennessee to inaugurate an art center. At
this time the name was officially changed to the Cumberland
Art Society. But, again in 1974 the CAS found itself without a home as the city demolished the old City Hall building to make room for construction of the Cookeville Drama Center.
In 1977, the Cumberland Art Society moved to
its present location at 186 S. Walnut Avenue. The building exterior decoration and interior room layout was thoughtfully designed by Reba and Ramola to allow for spacious studio areas, as well as functional office space, and an elegant gallery. Former president, Adrienne Stone said, "The first time I came here, I couldn't believe it. I thought, 'This is the best kept secret in Cookeville.' It's the kind of facility that has made other people from large cities say, 'Wow, you don't know what you've got here!'"
Cumberland Art Society Membership
Anyone can become a member of the Cumberland Art Society.
There are no restrictions or qualifications. An annual
membership fee of $30 is the only requirement. The benefits are many, including use of the CAS art studio and equipment on all "open painting" days; opportunity to display your artwork in the CAS lobby, area banks and other businesses; ability to participate in the two annual membership shows (one juried), and a free monthly critique day when area artists gather to evaluate one another's work and offer constructive encouragement.
• All artists, from beginners to advanced,
• Frequent covered-dish luncheons provide time for friends to meet and enjoy the fellowship of area artists
• Monthly reception held at the studio for current show participants
• A monthly newsletter with news and information for members
• Membership shows twice a year in the center’s
“Backdoor Gallery” with no entry fees for members
• Art classes and workshops in watercolor,
oils, acrylics, colored pencil, drawing, woodcarving, and more are offered by
visiting and local artists at reasonable fees(visit our classes and workshops page)